Long suffering fans of England won’t need to be reminded that when it comes to major tournaments, the team has an Achilles heel – penalties!
Coach Fabio Capello, planner supreme, will doubtless have his entire squad practising from 12 yards as this summer’s World Cup gets ever closer and he might have to ramp it up more than even he thought after the news that Spurs manager Harry Redknapp is about to strip Jermain Defoe of spot kick duty.
Defoe has missed his last four penalties, the last against Leeds in the FA Cup.
Should Defoe be on the pitch in South Africa when England are involved in a shoot out, he’ll probably be required to step forward and do his bit. But who else might Capello call upon, and what football boots will they be wearing as they make that lonely walk from the halfway line? We’re hedging our bets a little and picking one more than required, but you can perm any five from the following half dozen.
Frank Lampard – adiPure III
He may have his critics when he plays for England, but no-one can fault Lampard from the spot. A regular taker for Chelsea and mostly successful although not at the last World Cup where he missed the opening effort against Portugal. Mind you, he did score 2 years earlier at Euro 2004.
David Beckham' – adidas DB Predator X
If he goes, it’s likely he’ll be on the pitch at the final whistle having come on as a substitute. The former skipper is never shy of being ‘one of the five’ but its best we forget what happened at Euro 2004. Portugal were the opponents and Beck’s skied his pen after his standing foot slipped.
Owen Hargreaves – Nike
Here’s one for you. Name the only England player to have scored from the spot in their last two shoot-outs? That’s right, Owen Hargreaves. Capello has said that he needs to prove his fitness to win a place on the plane to South Africa, but should he do so, Hargreaves could be asked to make it ‘three from three’ following Euro 2004 and the World Cup in 2006. However, just which Nike boots he chooses to wear upon his return to competitive action is anyone’s guess.
John Terry – Umbro Speciali
Captain courageous has had mixed fortunes from the spot in recent years. Like Hargreaves, he was successful at the last World Cup but he won’t need reminding that he couldn’t do the business for Chelsea in the 2008 Champions League final against Manchester United. Like Beckham, he suffered a standing foot malfunction to let United back in to contention. At least he was brave enough to take one, filling in for Didier Drogba who’d been dismissed in extra time.
Ashley Cole – Nike CTR360 Maestri
Cole was also called upon in the shoot out against Portugal in 2006 and was successful with the first sudden death penalty. So, at least he’s shown he can hold his nerve. Seems happy in the CTR360 for the time being but has swapped his boots around over the past season or two.
Wayne Rooney – Nike Total 90 Laser III
Got to be in the frame as a ‘go to’ man should the need arise. Didn’t get to show us what he could do in 2004 and 2006 for differing reasons. At Euro 2004 was injured in the quarter final against Portugal and two years later, as those who can recall the CR9 wink will know, Rooney got his marching orders midway through the second half for a stamp. Needs to last 120 minutes this time round.
Who do you think might be called upon for spot kick duty should the need arise this summer? Let us know by commenting below.